The partnership aims at making Andhra Pradesh a global hub for chilli sourcing and utilise strengths of both parties to develop an institutional framework for chilli production and delivering the latest technologies to the farming community.
The project was started on a pilot basis in Kurnool in an area of 500 acres which was scaled up to 10,000 acres in 2019 and 25,000 acres in 2020. The initiative is planned for four key chilli producing districts — Guntur, Kurnool, Prakasam, and Krishna — with an objective of reaching 1,00,000 acres of cultivation in five years and make AP a global hub for chilli sourcing.
Horticulture commissioner Chiranjiv Choudhary said that AP is the largest producer of chilli in the country with three lakh farmers dependent on the crop. Choudhary pointed out that there is still immense opportunity to improve quality through appropriate pre and post-harvest interventions. “This requires a structure and holistic agri extension support to align crop production with market requirements,” Choudhary said.
The horticulture commissioner explained that the focus of the partnership is to disseminate good agriculture practices and customised crop advisories to improve chilli crop competitiveness in terms of productivity, quality, sustainability, reduced cost of cultivation and better market linkages to ensure increased farmer income on a sustainable basis.
Teja and Guntur Sannam varieties grown in Guntur, Prakasam and few other districts make Andhra Pradesh the leader in chilli production in the country. Horticulture officials said the “Chilli Farm Value Chain Development” programme is a classic example of a scalable PPP model which has established a market linked production system ensuring sustainable increase in farm incomes.
For 2020-21, the project is helping 10,064 farmers from 77 villages, cultivating chilli in over 25,000 acres and following a horti-cluster-based approach, where an ecosystem of 35 technical partners has been formed under the e-Choupal IAEP umbrella. In the 2021 chilli season, over 48,000 tonnes of production is expected from the project for which market linkage is being worked out to facilitate higher price for produce. A plan to develop a brand for the chilli produced in the project area is also in the pipeline so that it can be placed separately in the market to maintain its identity and realise better prices.
“At every key stage of crop growing, we have been trained in our village by scientists, horticulture department officials and ITC experts. Through the helpline number, I get information right on what kind of seed to use and immediate recommendations on pests and disease control. This is helping me and my fellow farmers to improve crop quality and farm gate purchase,” said Parmeshwara Reddy, a farmer from Solasa in Guntur district.